Nestled in the foothills, just off the scenic Pintler Veterans' Memorial Scenic Highway, is Philipsburg, Montana. Founded in 1867, this small town is rich in history, gems, and candy. At first glance it sort of looks like any other small western town; old buildings, dirt roads, like something time may have forgotten. But you should never judge a book by its cover; the same can be said about small towns.
The scenic countryside alone is worth the trip. Surrounded by hills and valleys and expansive views of mountains, Philipsburg is a great place to hang out for a while. The National Trust picked Philipsburg as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for Historic Preservation and for a good reason. This small community of around 950 has a big heart and a warm welcome for the thousands of visitors coming through each year.
In the late 1800s Phillipsburg was prosperous and a part of the mining boom. It was around 1892 when mining for sapphires were first mined, today mining is still a big draw for visitors who travel from all over to sift and dig in gravel in search for a gem they can call own. The Sapphire Gallery, Montana Gems of Philipsburg, and Gem Mountain brings the miner out of its visitors, or is just a great place to purchase gems already mined and made available in a variety of ways.
Another sweet draw for visitors is The Sweet Place, the world's greatest candy store. The Victorian era decor, dressed in pink and white, takes visitors back in time. Hard candies, Jelly Belly, and over 72 varieties of salt-water taffy in jars attract visitors who fill their bags with yummy sweetness. In the middle of the store is sweet heaven with exquisite and enticing handmade chocolates and caramels too tempting to ignore and so many choices for visitors to enjoy. But it is the checkout line where visitor’s taste buds go into full swing… mouthwatering fudge that melts in your mouth and takes you to a sweet paradise you may never return from. The Sweet Place is a sensory overload of absolute deliciousness, a must for all visitors.
Old, charming, historical, and sweet, Philipsburg is a great place to unwind, enjoy life the way it should be, and bustling with excitement.
Don’t just drive by Philipsburg, dismissing it as some small town—stop and taste the candy, mine for gems, and enjoy the small town’s charming history. It’s worth the trip.
by Karla Locke
Short Stories of passion, of life, of people.